watch american idol season 18

ABC/Gavin Bond

How to watch ‘American Idol’ season 18

America’s favorite singing competition is back.


Jaime Carrillo


America may be in an election year, and sure, that’s important, but it may just come in second to the other act of mass democracy with the return of American Idol.

Open call auditions were held across the nation from Savannah, Georgia to Portland Oregon, and even online via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, making it the most democratic singing competition yet. But remember: only one will have what it takes to charm the country and win it all to become the next American Idol.

Here’s everything you need to know to watch American Idol online.

american idol season 18 judges
ABC/Eliza Morse

Who is the American Idol host?

It wouldn’t be American Idol if it wasn’t hosted by Ryan Seacrest.

American Idol season 18 judges

Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan will serve as judges, and Bobby Bones will return as a mentor.

When does American Idol season 18 air?

The first episode of American Idol season 18 premieres on Tuesday, April 9, at 8pm ET. 

What channel is American Idol on?

American Idol originally aired on Fox, but now it airs on ABC.

How to watch the American Idol online

1) Hulu with Live TV

watch american idol season 18 on hulu with live tv
  • Cost: $54.99 per month
  • Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android devices
  • Local channels: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW (check your local availability here)

Hulu with Live TV not only gives you access to on-demand content, but you’ll also be able to stream live TV, including local networks like ABC. If you miss the Oscars when they air, no worries: It will be available on demand along with countless movies, classic programs, and of course, original series available exclusively on Hulu. You’ll also get access to almost 60 channels, including Lifetime, ESPN, USA, and plenty more. (Here’s the complete list of Hulu Live TV channels.)


2) Sling TV

For a more à la carte service, look to Sling TV. It offers two cable packages, Sling Orange and Sling Blue, both of which cost $30 per month. If you grab them both (Sling Orange + Blue) you can save $10 per month. Sling Blue offers more bang for your buck with over 40 channels, including sports necessities like FS1, NBCSN, and NFL Network. You’ll also gain access to the usual cable mainstays like Food Network, Discovery, Cartoon Network, SYFY, and FXX. Here’s the complete guide to Sling TV channels.

How to use AirTV with Sling

ABC is not available on any Sling TV package. However, there is an easy workaround. By purchasing a basic AirTV for $79.99 or the AirTV Player for $119.99, you can gain access to local channels in your Sling TV package. As the Daily Dot wrote in its AirTV review, “It’s practically magic.”

The basic AirTV is a dual-tuner streaming device, while the AirTV Player is basically an upgraded Chromecast that has Netflix preinstalled. You’ll still need to own an HD antenna because even though AirTV gets you access to your local channels, it doesn’t actually physically show them to you.

But AirTV—which has no monthly fee—serves to strengthen one of Sling’s biggest weaknesses compared to other live streaming services. It’s the only way to watch The Bachelor using Sling TV.

3) AT&T TV Now

watch american idol season 18 on AT&T TV Now
  • Cost: $50-$135 per month 
  • Hulu devices: Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick and Fire TV, iOS and Android devices
  • Local channels: NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, the CW (enter your ZIP code here to check your availability)

There’s a good chance that you’re already looking to AT&T for your wireless needs. The second you sign up you’ll gain instant access to 45+ channels, including local channels and even free HBO on PLUS and MAX channel suites. Plus, it comes with CloudDVR which lets you record up to 20 hours of TV per month. One account works on two devices, but you can add more devices for only $5.

4) YouTube TV

youtube tv channels
YouTube TV YouTube TV

YouTube TV offers a streaming suite of more than 60 popular cable networks, including local channels. Among them are sports channels including ESPN and FS1, entertainment destinations like FXX and TBS, and even a handful of Spanish language channels like Telemundo and NBC Universo. One YouTube TV subscription lets you add up to six accounts, each with unlimited cloud DVR. (You can find the full list of YouTube TV channels here.)

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